The Western Pacific Ocean
Asia, Micronesia, Melanesia, and Australia
are included in the Western Pacific Ocean.
AUSTRALIA Great Barrier Reef
Great Barrier Reef
listed Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral
reef comprised of 3,000 individual reefs and coral islands along 1500
miles of the Queensland coast. It's the only living organism that can
be seen from space and is home to a myriad of sea creatures including
dolphins, turtles, dugongs and more than 1,500 species of fish.
Cairns by way of Sydney on
Qantas and United, on Air New Zealand by way of Auckland, and Air
Pacific by way of Nadi. Stopovers can be arranged.
and Port Douglas, Queensland are the departure points for many
dive boats which travel to the Cod Hole, the Ribbon, Holmes,
Bougainvillea Reefs and into the Coral Sea. Heron and Lady Elliot
Islands are located on the reef and offer boat diving from the shore.
South of Cairns, coastal Townsville and beautiful Magnetic Island offer
fantastic snorkelling and diving. One of the best-known diving sites is
the wreck of the SS Yongala. The ship sank in 1911 but was not
discovered until 1958, having lain undisturbed for almost 50 years.
the Great Barriar Reef is the Whitsundys also with water in the
Water temperature is high 70s. The rainy season is from December to
April in their summer. In June and July Minke whales visit the Ribbon
On land, rainforest treks, canopy tours, river rafting, hiking
and other activities are available.
Further South Kangaroo Island, Lord Howe Island, and Tasmania
offers cold water diving
like Northern California. To explore the giant kelp forests, sponge
gardens and caves or find sea dragons and handfish, check out the Tasmania Dive Trail. It lists the
best sites along Tasmania’s east coast between Flinders Island and
The waters off Kangaroo Island provide some of the best temperate-water
diving in Australia. Descending to 20-24 metres, walls of Gorgonia
corals, red, orange and white sponges are impressive. To add to the
kaleidoscope of colour are some equally magnificent fish: Blue Devil,
Harlequin, Truncate coralfish and Boarfish. A spectacular sight is the
elusive Leafy Sea-dragon that is endemic to these waters. Over 50
recorded shipwrecks have occurred around the Island's coastline,
ranging from the 5,000-tonne freighter, Portland Maru, wrecked in 1935,
to the 500-tonne sailing barque, Fides, wrecked in 1860. While not all
of these wrecks are accessible, there are some opportunities to view
part of the Island's tragic past.
To the west out of Exmouth whaleshark diving is offered from late
March to July.
Borneo is famous for its wildlife and jungle. Especially
Orang Utans in their protected habitats.
colourful cultures, marine life, national parks, as well as Sabah's
famous Mount Kinabalu.
Sipadan was described by Jacques Cousteau as
having more marine life than any spot on the face of this planet.
Sipadan Island is lying five degrees north of the equator in the
Sulawesi (Celebes) Sea. It is an oceanic island formed by living corals
growing on top of an extinct undersea volcano which rises 600 meters
from the seabed. The geographic position of Sipadan puts it in the
centre of the richest marine habitat in the world, the crux of the
The turtle tomb, an underwater limestone cave with labyrinth of tunnels
and chambers that contain the skeletal remains of turtles makes another
unique feature for scuba diving enthusiasts.
Another one of the highlights on every diver’s wish list is catching
the schooling barracuda and the big-eye trevally gathering in thousands
and forming an outstanding tornado-like formation. If you’re lucky, you
might just catch pelagic species such as mantas, eagle rays, scalloped
hammerhead sharks and whale sharks.
Apart from mesmerizing big fishes beckoning divers to plunge into its
clear blue waters, Sipadan also has an equally amazing macro life
population. Different dive sites in the island promise different sets
of opportunities to catch a glimpse of ocean lives such as garden eels,
leaf scorpion fish, mantis shrimps, fire gobies, and various
pipefish—Sipadan owes its reputation as one of the world’s ten best
dive sites for its teeming marine lives and rich diversity.
The Malaysian government has decided that all existing onsite dive
resort operators were to move their operations out of the Sipadan
Island by 31st December 2004. The move is aimed at conserving and
maintaining a balanced marine and land ecosystem on Sipadan’s
environments. However, Sipadan will remain as a dive site and divers
are to be ferried by operators operating from the mainland or nearby
islands other than Sipadan and Ligitan.
Located only about 15 minutes by speedboat from the famous Sipadan
Island, Mabul has gained its own recognition as one of the best
muck-diving (a term used to describe limited visibility dives at
shallow sites with usually sandy bottoms) sites in the world. Mabul is
a small oval shaped island fringed by sandy beaches and perched on the
northwest corner of a larger 200-hectare reef. The reef is on the edge
of the continental shelf and the seabed surrounding the reef slopes out
to 25–30m deep.
Mabul is also renowned for its amazing array of macrolife, making it an
underwater photographer’s dream location to capture some of the rarest
ecological species on film. Flamboyant cuttlefish, blue-ringed octopus,
spike-fin gobies, frogfish and moray eels are just some of the
spectacular critters you will encounter beneath the waters of Mabul.
This unique and new dive destination is built on a sand bar only 15
minutes from Sipadan Island. The sand bar was many years ago the island
of Kapalai, but erosion has taken its toll on what was once a truly
beautiful island. The village sits on what is known as the Ligitan
Reefs, a very extensive stretch bordering the deep and vast Sulawesi
The underwater scene is completely different compared to Sipadan's. It
is a macroworld of great interest featuring rare subjects ranging from
dragonets, fire gobies, partner & sleeper gobies, wasp or leaf
fish, gurnards, the strange "little dragonfish" or seamoth, the tame
crocodile fish, giant frogfish of different colors, eels, rays...just
to name a few.
Lankayan, a tiny jewel-shaped island located on the northeastern coast
of Sabah, is part of the Sugud Islands Marine Conservation Area (SIMCA)
and is surrounded blue-green waters and coral reefs. It is also one of
Sabah's top diving spots.
The availability of jungle interior and interesting diving attracts
both divers and non-divers alike to Lankayan.
14 dive sites including the Lankayan Wreck, all only minutes away from
the island, offer magnificent displays of marine life ranging from
giant groupers to tiny ribbon eels. Enormous whale sharks are regularly
sighted between March and May, and the island is also a nesting site
for green and hawksbill turtles. You can watch as the baby turtles are
released back into the sea.
Layang-Layang, known as "Swallows Reef" is an atoll situated in the
South China Sea 300km north-west of Kota Kinabalu. The island is
man-made and was constructed for the Malaysian Navy and later developed
for the only dive resort, Layang-Layang Island Resort.
The island location offers absolute isolation, luckily there is an
airstrip with regular flights from Kota Kinabalu, which is the only
mode of transport for guests visiting Layang-Layang. The extreme
location of Layang-Layang, the pristine reefs, excellent visibility,
steep walls down to 2000km and regular sightings of pelagics has given
Layang-Layang a much deserved reputation of being one of the top ten
dive locations in the world.
With resident schools of barracuda and big-eye trevally and frequently
seen green and hawksbill are plentifull and healthy with sea fans
strecthing to more than three meters across that filter plankton from
the passing currents.
The 20m deep lagoon has some great macro creatures to be found
including seahorses, cuttlefish and pipefish but it is the pelagics
visiting the outer walls that truly excite divers. Schools of scalloped
hammerhead sharks, grey reef sharks, leopard sharks and the occasional
threshers and silvertip sharks can all be seen.
Stingrays are also regular visitors including manta rays, pygmy devil
rays, marbled rays and eagle rays. Rare sightings such as whale sharks,
orcas and melon headed whales have all been seen ove the last few
years. Spinner and bottlenose dolphins frequently follow the dive boats
to each location and divers are sometimes rewareded with snorkeling and
diverse fish life and visiting pelagic marine life.
To make your resort choices harder,
there are Labuan in the Bay of Brunei for wrecks, the Mantani Resort
with pristine reef drift diving, inner reef muck diving and 3 wrecks.
Kapalai Dive Resort
Layang Layang Island Resort
Sipadan Water Village
Unknown to most divers in the world, Japan offers variety of
diving. In the north there are kelp forests like northern California.
Off the Tokyo Bay the cold current and warm current meet, and it offers
the diversity of marine life. 100 miles south to Tokyo, Izu Peninsula
is dive area where divers in Tokyo visit, and water temperature varies
from 60s to 80s through
year. During summer time the Black current brings creatures from the
Pacific: frog fish, pipe fish, and lion fish to name a few. Ogasawara
(Bonin) Islands, and Okinawa Islands are sub tropic and offers 80F
water year around. Ogasawara water is another Humpback whale
mating area like Hawaii during winter, and it is sperm whale
habitat year around.
Fish Eye (Ogasawara Island)
Ose-Kan (Izu Peninsula)
of Micronesia (FSM) is a grouping of 607 small islands
in the Western Pacific about 2,500 miles southwest of Hawaii, lying
just above the Equator. Generally speaking, FSM comprises what is known
as the Eastern and Western Caroline Islands. While the country's total
land area amounts to only 270.8 square miles, it occupies more than one
million square miles of the Pacific Ocean, and ranges 1,700 miles from
East (Kosrae) to West (Yap). Each of the four States centers around one
or more "high islands," and all but Kosrae include numerous atolls.
The islands of the FSM are the result of volcanic activity millions of
years ago resulting in islands and atolls of incredible variety. Some
are tips of mountain peaks thrust above the surface and now surrounded
by fringing reefs. Others are atolls -- islands that have sunk beneath
the surface, leaving a ring of coral barrier reef and tiny island
islets encircling a coral and sand lagoon. And, still others, are
mixtures of atolls and high rigged islands within a lagoon.
The climate in the FSM averages 80° F year round, with highs in the
high 80s and lows in the high 70s. Rainfall is heaviest during the
summer months. The rainfall on each island varies, however, so check
with the local visitor authority for anticipated dry and wet seasons.
Trade winds come mainly from the northeast from December through June.
Light tropical clothing is the norm year 'round in the FSM.
Travel to the FSM is available via Hawaii or Guam through Continental
The Water Temperature is around 81 F degrees (28 C degrees) all year
round. It is warm enough to wear just a thermo skin, or 3mm neoprene
The visibility often exceeds 150 feet (50 meters) and can top 200 feet.
Where there are currents visibility varies from 30 feet (10 meters) up
to 100 feet (30 meters) with the average being about 50 to 60 feet.
(also known as Truk) lagoon is another of Micronesia's
incredible undersea phenomena. The giant lagoon is almost 40 miles in
diameter and reaches depths of 300 feet. Aside from the sheer beauty of
the undersea coral reef beneath the clear water, the bottom of Chuuk
lagoon is the final tomb for more than 100 ships, planes and
submarines--the legacy of a fierce World War II battle between the
Japanese Imperial Fleet and Allied carrier attack planes. For the past
50 years these wrecks have rested on the bottom virtually undisturbed,
creating the greatest underwater museum in the world. The warm tropical
water, prolific marine life and ocean currents have
transformed the wrecks into breathtakingly beautiful coral gardens and
artificial reefs, home to hundreds of exotic marine animals and fish.
called “The Sleeping Lady” because of the shape of one of its
picturesque mountains is covered with dense tropical jungles and high
volcanic peaks, with lush river valleys and spectacular views. Kosrae
covers an area of 110 km2 (42 square miles) and is roughly triangular
in shape. It is the second largest island and the most easterly state
of the Federated States of Micronesia. It is located at approximately
5º N Latitude and 163º E Longitude. This is almost 5000 km
(3000 Miles) southwest of Hawai'i, and 14 hours ahead of US Eastern
the ruined cities of Lelu and Menke. The
island is surrounded by very healthy fringing reefs teeming with
splendidly colorful tropical fish feeding off the spectacular corals.
Visibility exceeds 100'—perfect for spotting paddling sea turtles and
large rays winging their way through the blue waters. The coral reefs,
which slope steeply into the clear blue depths, are one of the great
attractions of Kosrae.
coral gardens punctuate the eastern side of the island. On the west,
the gardens give way to plunging walls. Sharks, dogtooth tuna,
barracuda schools and other exciting ocean citizens cal all be
encountered along the reef's edge.
Equally attractive are its warm-hearted people.
Visitors leave here with vivid memories and a yearning to return.
Kosrae Nautilus Resort
Kosrae Village Resort
located in the Western Pacific, stretching from 6 to 10 degrees North
Latitude and 137 to 148 degrees East Longitude in the Western Caroline
Islands. Yap is one of the four States that make up the Federated
States of Micronesia and is some 450 miles southwest of Guam, and 360
miles northeast of Palau.
Yap is world famous for it's large population of resident manta
rays. On Yap a manta dive does not mean diving hoping for a manta
encounter, it means diving to see the mantas.
There's much more to diving in Yap than just Manta Rays, however. Yap's
outer reefs abound with species of tropical reef fishes, invertebrates
and corals. When coupled with the abundance of larger species like
mantas, sharks, and turtles, Yap is a paradise for the underwater
photographer or videographer. More than 200 species of hard and soft
corals form the reefs of Yap.
Yap Caverns, at the southern tip of the island offers a truly
spectacular dive with an array of caverns, swim throughs and pinnacles
populated by Lionfish and sleeping whitetip reef sharks. Large schools
of Huge Bumphead Parrotfish are often seen here.
The reefs on the East side of the island (windward side) feature gently
sloping terraces with one of the most diverse selections of hard corals
in Micronesia. The west side of the island (lee side) is composed of a
series of vertical walls starting in 15 feet of water and plunging
straight down hundreds of feet. The visibility on the reefs usually
exceeds 100 feet and frequently is over 150 ft.
Many species of marine creatures that are rare in some parts of the
world are plentiful in Yap. Dive sites such as Lionfish Wall offer a
chance to experience the beauty of a pristine coral reef. One perpetual
favorite of divers is the colorful clownfish. Five species can be seen
in Yap. Some of the anemones they live in are over four feet across and
host dozens of clowns.
Manta Bay Hotel
Trader's Ridge Resort
Far to the southwest of
Micronesia the Republic of Belau (the traditional name) consists of an
archipelago of 343 islands, spread north to south over 100 miles form
the atoll of Kayangel to the island of Angaur plus five tiny islands,
known as the southwest islands. Palau's profuse, unspoiled reefs offer
a wealth of marine life, coral
formations and wrecks. Dives begin in knee deep water and plunge
straight down to depths of 1000 feet and more. Blue holes, huge caverns
and an immense variety of rare and exotic
marine species are easily accessible in clear water with visibility
exceeding 200 feet. Vast numbers, not found anywhere else in the world,
of large pelagic predators, sharks, turtles, dolphins and many species
of migratory fish gather here at a unique crossroads of three of the
world's major ocean currents. Land locked marine lakes, accessible from
the sea through tunnels beneath the island's steep shorelines, are home
to rare jelly fish, anemones and soft corals.
'Big Blue Explorer'
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Palau Pacific Resort
Lying just south of the equator, 160km north of Australia,
Papua New Guinea is part of a great arc of mountains stretching from
Asia, through Indonesia and into the South Pacific. This fascinating
land boasts more than 600 islands and more than 800 indigenous
languages (tok ples), and is home to the largest area of intact
rainforest outside of the Amazon. Papua New Guinea consists of 4
regions made up of 19 provinces and the National Capital District, each
with their own special character and cultures. Visitors will discover a
wealth of tropical scenery, from the jungle-clad mountains of the
highlands to the sandy white beaches and atolls of the coastal and
Vast tracts of the country are wild and undeveloped, with magnificent
scenery that ranges from pristine coral atolls to volcanic mountains,
dense tropical rainforest and large rivers. The mainland is divided by
the Owen Stanley Range, a massive central spike with peaks towering
over 4000m. Great rivers begin their journey to the sea from these
mountains, among them the mighty Sepik River, one of the world's
longest waterways. Beneath the mountain chain, fertile coastal plains,
flooded delta regions and mangrove swamps exist alongside broad sandy
beaches and sheltered bays. The rugged mountain terrain and deep cave
systems offer wonderful adventure opportunities for walkers, cavers and
climbers, and there is canoeing, kayaking and fishing on the river and
The climate is typically monsoonal: hot, humid and wet year-round.
There are defined wet (December to March) and dry (May to October)
seasons, but both are subject to regional variation (especially in the
islands). Rainfall, for example, varies tremendously: Port Moresby may
experience an annual rainfall of 1000mm (39in) while Lae has over
4500mm (176in). In extreme rainfall areas, such as West New Britain,
the annual rainfall can exceed 6m (20ft) a year. Temperatures on the
coast are reasonably stable all year (hovering between 25° and
30°C/77 and 86°F) but humidity and winds are changeable.
Temperatures drop at higher altitudes, and it can be very chilly in the
Step into the past where the natives are getting a crash course from
the stone age to the twentieth century. While the natives of Fiji
and Tonga and the Aborigines of Australia have had over a hundred years
to get acquainted with us, the tribes of Papua New Guinea have had a
mere thirty to forty years. Most diving is from
liveaboard boats; you must set aside extra
vacation time to explore the Highlands and the Sepik River before
leaving this magic and mysterious land.
relies on air transport probably more than any other country in the
world and its rugged terrain extending from its coastal areas to its
highlands. It has one International Airport in Port Moresby, the
nations capital. Port Moresby provides air connections to all of the
world's major cities, with direct flights to the Australia, Solomon
Islands, Singapore, Philipines and Hong Kong. Cairns (CNS) and
Brisbane (BNE) are accesed by both Air Niugini and Airlines PNG, while
Sydney (SYD), Singapore (SIN), Manila (MNL), Hong Kong (HKG), Honiara
(HIR) and Nadi (NDI) have direct flight by Air Niugini only.
discovered the fantastic
diving in the Bismarck Sea and Milne Bay not more than twenty years
ago. Located in the Indo-Pacific Area, Expects say that it has up to
twice as many marine species as the waters of the Red Sea and up to
five times as many as the Caribbean. Divers enjoy a huge diversity of
dive sites including barrier reefs, coral walls (drop off), and coral
gardens, patch reefs, fringing reefs, sea grass beds, coral atolls, and
wreck dive sites. The wreck sites provide a collection of ships,
aircraft and submarine wrecks from World War 2. The average water
temperature varies from 25 degrees Celsius along the edge of the Coral
Sea to 29 degrees Celsius in the Bismarck Sea. One can dive in Papua
New Guinea all year round, with the high season generally from May to
Mike Ball 'Paradise Sport'
'Spirit of Niugini'
Peter Hughes 'Star
The Solomon Islands is third largest archipelago in the
comprising 992 islands ranging from large landmasses with rugged
virgin forests, to low lying coral atolls. They are scattered in
chain of islands covering 1.35 million sq km of sea and extend for
1.667k, in a
south-easterly direction from Papua New Guinea.
Tropical, with average daytime temperatures ranges between 25 to 30
degrees Celsius and high humidity. Evenings may be as cool as 19
degrees. Heavier rainfalls are between the months of October and April.
There are no defined seasons, but November to May is known for the
wetter months of which squalls and tropical cyclones may occur.
Nature weaves her watery spell amongst the wrecks of World War II.
You will experience an extraordinary array of differing structures and
bio-assemblage; including shallow and deep coral gardens with
drop-offs, ledges and gutters, sharks, all manner of light game fish
an enormous range of reef fish. Turtles and, mantas and eagle rays
are common sights, together with friendly Hammerheads. Most of
here is done from liveaboard boats.
Fly into Brisbane or Nadi and
connect to Honiara with Solomon Air or Air Pacific.
'Spirit of Solomon'